Last year in this entry, I rant and raved about how bad my sports year had been. This year was better, but it had the potential to be amazing. It can be called the year of the near-miss. Once again Andy Murray fell just short of winning Wimbledon. Butler almost shocked the world and beat Duke. A non-AQ team came within a hair of making the BCS title game. And my South Carolina boy Dustin Johnson should have won two majors but instead won zero. Nevertheless, I did have my fair share of good moments, and I have listed my 10 best and 10 worst below. Keep in mind that these are given from a purely subjective viewpoint. When I say “best/worst moments” I’m not talking about great or horrible sporting events. I’m talking about moments that affected me the most positively or negatively.
1. South Carolina wins NCAA Baseball Championship (June 29, 2010)- The Gamecocks finally won a national championship in a major sport! I know it’s not basketball or football, but we’ll take it.
2. Wake Forest upsets Texas in NCAA Tournament (March 18, 2010)- This was probably the most hysterically happy I have ever become while attending a sporting event. When Ish’s buzzer beater went in, I threw off my Screamin’ Demons shirt and ran around the concourse of New Orleans arena screaming uncontrollably. I’ve always wanted one of my teams to hit a shot that would be featured in “One Shining Moment” and it happened this past March March. This moment would probably be # 1 on this list had we not gotten beat by 30 points just two days later again Kentucky (see worst moments list below).
3. South Carolina football beats Alabama (October 9, 2010)- 2010 officially became the year of the Gamecock when South Carolina beat the # 1 ranked football team after previously beating the # 1 ranked basketball and baseball teams earlier in the year. This was one of the most exciting and exhilarating non-Wake Forest games I have ever attended.
4. Alabama wins BCS National Championship (January 7, 2010)- Yeah I really wanted Boise to win this BCS Title, but the next best thing was seeing my Mom’s alma mater take home their first title in years by beating an obnoxious Texas team.
5. South Carolina football beats Florida (November 13, 2010)- All Gamecock football fans really ever asked for was some kind of championship, even it was something as simple as a division title. With South Carolina’s resounding victory at Florida, Spurrier finally delivered a championship (of sorts) to Columbia.
6. Saints win Super Bowl (February 7, 2010)- “Who dat say they going to beat them Saints? Who dat? Who dat?” It was just awesome to see the NFL’s historically worst franchise take home a title.
7. Butler’s Final Four win over Michigan State (April 3, 2010)- Even though the clock eventually struck midnight on the Bulldog’s Cinderella tourney run, this was one of the great sentimental storylines in tournament history. See this column I wrote last March for all the reasons why: http://sportsentiment.com/2010/04/02/butler-greatest-final-four-story-of-all-time/
8. Boise State beats Virginia Tech (September 6, 2010)- I guess when all was said and done this game didn’t really mean a whole lot as the Hokies ended up making a BCS Bowl, while Boise did not. Nevertheless, it was an incredible game (the college football game of the year in my opinion) that certainly provided additional evidence that the non-AQ powerhouses are better than their BCS conference counterparts.
9. Isner-Mahut tennis marathon (June 24, 2010)- It was one of the most surreal things you will ever see in sports, and it may not happen again. Isner’s 70-68 first round Wimbledon victory over Nicolas Mahut was particularly gratifying for me because he is a Greensboro, NC native, which is currently my hometown. Also, the fact that this match was going on at the exact same time as the U.S. Soccer World Cup buzzer beater (also featured on this list) is truly extraordinary.
10. U.S. Soccer buzzer beater over Algeria (June 23, 2010)- I’ve never seen a buzzer beater in soccer, especially one with such huge implications.
1. Black Friday of Football (November 26, 2010)- The day after Thanksgiving was the worst triple-header of games I’ve ever seen. Going into the day, either Oregon or Auburn needed to lose and Boise needed to win, for the Broncos to basically clinch a national title game berth. And at halftime of all three games, the team that I was cheering for had the lead. In fact, two of those teams, Boise and Auburn, had seemingly insurmountable 24-7 leads. However, one-by-one all three games took disastrous turns culminating in Kyle Brotzman’s choke job against Nevada. Just the kind of day that makes you wish you weren’t a sports fan and makes you question whether or not there actually is a higher power out there that has control of what happens on the field.
2. Duke beats Butler to win NCAA Basketball National Championship (April 5, 2010)- If only that shot went in…
3. Dustin Johnson’s PGA Championship loss (August 15, 2010)- I’m not including Johnson’s choke loss at the U.S. Open because I think everyone saw it coming. However, the PGA Championship screw job, where he was penalized two strokes for grounding his club in an imaginary bunker, was absolutely disheartening. This was the ultimate example of why golf is an elitist, nonsensical game that is about as much of a sport as beer pong. After this disaster, which was my 6th heart-breaking golf loss in the past three years, I decided that I will not watch another golf tournament until someone I like actually wins a major And as we enter 2011, I stand firmly behind my boycott.
4. Auburn destroys South Carolina in SEC Title Game (December 4, 2010)- Auburn’s last two games of the season are on this list (see worst moment # 1), and if Oregon loses the title game in hearbreaking fashion, then that game will likely make next year’s worst moment list.
5. Rafael Nadal beats Andy Murray in Wimbledon Semifinals (July 2, 2010)- Another year without a Brit taking home the Wimbledon title..
6. Kentucky destroys Wake Forest in NCAA basketball tournament (March 20, 2010)- This was a really tough situation for me because I grew up a Kentucky fan but then to college at Wake Forest. However, my commitment level to the Cats dropped significantly after they hired the inherently corrupt John Calipari as head coach, so as a result, my allegiances rested firmly with Wake in this game. I even held up a sign that said “The Wall Will Fall Tonight”. Unfortunately, I couldn’t hold up the sign for very long as the Deacons got beaten down like they were a bad 16-seed.
7. Kentucky football loses to Tennessee… again (November 27, 2010)- Will this streak ever end? I’m really not sure becaust Tennessee isn’t going to be this bad for much longer, and Kentucky isn’t going to get much better than they are now.
8. L.A. Lakers win NBA Championship (June 17, 2010)- It’s never a good thing when your least favorite team in a particular sport wins the league championship.
9. U.S. Soccer loss to Ghana (June 26, 2010)- We were definitely outplayed in this one, but it was still sad to see us lose in such dramatic fashion.
10. Lebron James moves to Miami (July 8, 2010)- I’m not a crazy Cleveland fan or anything, but it was sad to see a player tarnish his legacy by basically saying the only way I can win a title is if I get a dream to team to help me.